Sudan Protesters Met With Tear Gas on March to Presidential Palace

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Protesters demanding the resignation of President Omar al-Bashir clashed with security forces Thursday on the streets of the Sudanese capital.

In the latest eruption against the longtime ruler, crowds of people marched toward the presidential palace in the capital, Khartoum, many waving their country’s flag and singing the national anthem. They were met with tear gas as they tried to deliver a letter demanding that Mr. Bashir step down.

At least two people, a doctor and a 14-year-old, were killed in Thursday’s protests, according to the Sudan Doctors Committee, a union representing medical workers in the country. In all, more than 40 people have been killed since demonstrations began on Dec. 19, rights groups say.

Demonstrations took place on Thursday in at least 10 other cities, according to trade unions that helped organize them.

Some protesters and eyewitnesses reported that security forces had fired live rounds at them in the Burri neighborhood of Khartoum, and videos posted on social media by local activists appear to show at least one man being treated for a head injury. Gunshots can be heard in other footage in which the Burri Almahas Mosque is seen in the background.

The near-daily demonstrations initially began over corruption and mismanagement of the economy.

But as the unrest broadened over the past month, so did the message of the protesters, who turned their focus to the overall leadership of Mr. Bashir, who has ruled Sudan since 1989, when he seized power in a coup. His party has moved to change the country’s Constitution to prolong his rule.

On Thursday, security forces were deployed in large numbers in the capital.

The Sudan Doctors Committee issued a statement accusing the security services of preventing ambulances and emergency responders from reaching those wounded in Thursday’s demonstrations. It demanded immediate access to “every citizen who needs medical assistance.”

Human rights groups have urged the Sudanese government to end what they said was unwarranted use of force against protesters and to enact reforms that have long been called for by the international community.

Michelle Bachelet, the United Nations high commissioner for Human Rights, on Thursday called on the government of Sudan to protect the rights of citizens and end the crackdown on protests. She said her office was ready to deploy a team to Sudan to advise the authorities.

“A repressive response can only worsen grievances,” Ms. Bachelet said. “The government needs to ensure that security forces handle protests in line with the country’s international human rights obligations by facilitating and protecting the right to peaceful assembly.”

A government assault on a hospital in Omdurman, just north of the capital, has drawn international condemnation. Patients — some demonstrators being treated for injuries — and doctors alike were targeted with tear gas and live fire.

Sarah Jackson, Amnesty International’s deputy director for East Africa, said in a statement, “There must be an urgent investigation into this horrific attack, and all officers involved must be held accountable.”

Sudan has a history of large-scale demonstrations forcing change. Before Mr. Bashir’s coup, two earlier governments fell amid unrest. Under the current government, rising fuel and bread prices in 2013 and early 2018 also set off protests, but they were contained mostly to the capital and suppressed by the security forces.

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